Minister of State Michael Ring has denied that the MacBride Community Nursing Unit (CNU) in Westport is to close, and issued a scathing attack on those who have speculated otherwise.
Concern about the future of the nursing home has been mounting following a recent HIQA report that criticised several aspects of staffing at the facility. With rumours of its imminent closure circulating since the report came to light, a backlash against such a move has emerged. Over the weekend 2,500 signatures opposing the downgrading and closure of beds in the home were collected.
Westport resident, Michael Dever, who has been involved in the petition against the downgrading of services in the home, told The Mayo News that there was a lot of anger among the public about any potential downgrading. “We want clarification from the HSE regarding the future of the home and feel the erosion of services is not acceptable,” he said.
The future of the MacBride Nursing Unit was discussed at last week’s meeting of Westport Town Council. Westport Town Councillors were sent letters from a ‘concerned local resident’ prior to the meeting which outlined that speculation was mounting about the ‘imminent closure’ of the home.
The letter, which has been seen by The Mayo News, outlined recent developments such as the failure of the HSE to fill 30 vacant beds, appoint a Director of Nursing and cancel a contract with a private cleaning company from this October are areas for anxiety and concern.
Independent councillor Martin Keane called for the matter to be cleared up without delay. “I am asking the HSE to once and for all to tell the truth about what’s happening. I am sick of the lies from the HSE because it is all lies from the HSE.I want them to truthfully tell us if the Mac Bride Nursing Home is closing,” he said.
Cllrs Keith Martin, Myles Staunton and Michael McLaughlin also called for clarification of the HSE’s plans, and a motion was passed inviting the HSE to address the council’s next meeting to explain its plans for the home.
Ring rounds on scaremongering
Yesterday (Monday), Minister Ring released a statement in which strenuously denied that the home was to close. “The scaremongering that has gone on in Westport over the last number of days is nothing short of disgraceful and totally unacceptable.
It is unnecessarily frightening elderly people.
The situation is that HIQA recently carried out a report on the MacBride CNU; the HSE has responded to that report [and] has confirmed to me that it will not be closing the MacBride CNU,” he said.
According to Minister Ring, the HSE stated: “The bed complement of the McBride Community Nursing Unit has been reduced to 30 in order to comply with the HIQA requirements for staffing levels on night duty. There are currently 27 patients in the Unit.”